People are constantly seeking new and exciting ghost stories. Personally, there is nothing that I love more than curling up with a good creepy book, so I had so much fun putting this one together. Whether you’re into some seriously dark paranormal action, or you’re just looking to dip your toes into the horror genre, this list has something for you.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson is a true queen of horror. I had to include her classic, The Haunting of Hill House, on this list. It is truly one of my favorite books, and still inspires the occasional nightmare years after reading it. The story follows four characters who spend the weekend at Hill House, which is, as the name suggests, so very haunted. It is often said that this book actually has five main characters if you count the house itself, which is personified throughout the story. This terrifying story unfolds beautifully through rich layers of physical ghosts, psychological trauma, lush writing, and a terrifying setting that will truly give you chills.
Rules For Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
At times, I find myself gravitating toward young adult horror. When I need a break, I convince myself that a book geared toward young readers will be less scary than something meant for adults. While this is generally the case, Rules for Vanishing is an exception to this rule. This story follows a group of kids as they slip through a portal and find themselves on a haunted road. While attempting to find their friend, they discover the truth of what happened to a young girl who went missing 50 years ago. It’s written in a consistently engaging faux-documentary style and is, to be frank, straight-up terrifying.
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
If you’re relatively new to the horror genre and want to start off with a milder selection, City of Ghosts may just be the title for you. This is the first in a mid-grade series and strikes a delicate balance between spooky and wholesome. It follows a young girl, Cassidy, who has the ability to see ghosts, as she travels the country with her parents who are the hosts of a popular paranormal TV show. Cassidy quickly finds herself mixed up with a group of unfriendly ghosts and has to figure out how to put them to rest. It’s a great story featuring a strong friendship, Harry Potter references, and the perfect number of spooky settings.
The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters
Did you spend your childhood staying up late and trading scary stories with friends? If so, The Dead Girl’s Club might just be for you. The story throws the reader almost haphazardly back and forth between past and present, documenting the childhood of a group of best friends with a penchant for tale-telling. This group, however, does not grow up happily ever after. The book’s true through-line is the main character’s quest to remember the events that led to another group member’s death. This book has a series of unreliable narrators, childhood trauma, psychological suspense, and mystery so thick you’ll be guessing until the end.
Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Rooms is a book about a haunted house that is left as an inheritance to a mother and her children. When they arrive expecting the home to be empty, they find two former residents occupying the home from beyond the grave. It’s part mystery and part family drama steeped in atmosphere so thick you could drink it. Rooms is a book that is perfect to curl up with on a cold, dark night.